The cornea is a clear and protective dome-shaped covering over the iris (coloured part of the eye) and the pupil (small central black circle in the iris) of the eye; made up of three main layers, namely epithelium, stroma, and endothelium.
The cornea acts as a lens and helps in projecting light onto the retina (light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye). A damaged or diseased cornea may change shape, reduce transparency of the cornea, and result in impaired vision.
The most common causes of corneal disorders include:
- Eye injuries
- Keratitis (corneal inflammation due to bacterial or fungal infections)
- Ocular herpes or herpes zoster (viral herpes infection of the eye)
- Corneal dystrophies (diseases that cause structural problems with the cornea) such as:
- Keratoconus (change in the corneal curvature)
- Map-Dot-Fingerprint dystrophy (abnormal growth of membrane between the upper and middle corneal layers)
- Fuch's dystrophy (destruction of the lower corneal layer)
- Lattice dystrophy (abnormal protein deposits on the middle corneal layer)
- Corneal damage caused by previous eye surgery
Mild damage to the cornea may heal overtime, while severe injuries may result in permanent damage to the cornea causing a serious eye problem. Consult your eye care specialist if you experience redness, pain, blurred vision, corneal scars or light sensitivity. Your doctor will conduct a thorough eye examination to diagnose the corneal disease.
Corneal disorders can be treated with medications, corneal transplantation, and corneal laser surgery.